Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rolled out a new Form I-9 in November 2016. Starting January 22, 2017, all employers must use the new Form I-9, which is dated November 14, 2016 (the edition date is on the bottom of the Form I-9). Employers that do not use the new Form I-9 starting January 22, 2017 could face civil penalties.
The new Form I-9 has a slightly changed format, including a supplement that allows for the addition of more than one Section 1 Preparer and/or Translator. Section 1 also contains a specific section for Other Last Names Used, and now allows for employees to insert a P.O. Box as an address. There is also an additional space in Section 2 designed to accommodate further information, such as employment authorization extensions, which previously had to be recorded in the margins.
One of the most anticipated features of the new Form I-9 is an “electronic” or “smart” version. Please note the electronic I-9 is not an electronic Form I-9, as defined in the regulations governing the storage and creation of electronic Form I-9s; it is instead a version provided by USCIS to fill out on a computer.1 The electronic version also has features including pop-up information boxes and drop-down menus for List A, B, C. The menus contain document titles, and for some documents, the appropriate issuing authority. But if an option is not available on the menu, then it will need to be inserted manually on the printed Form I-9. Finally, there is also a “Click to Finish” button meant to ensure the Form I-9 is complete. In the electronic version, all fields left blank should be marked “n/a.”
When printed, the electronic version has a Quick Response (QR) code for the use of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) auditors. The QR code does not serve as a confirmation from USCIS that the Form I-9 was completed properly. With stronger immigration compliance enforcement coming soon, now is a good time to be proactive and review Form I-9 procedures and compliance.
1 The regulations governing the storage of electronic I-9s can be found at 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2(e). The regulations provide the requirements for an electronically stored Form I-9, including audit trail and electronic signature requirements.